Guest Post

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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Genre definition is important

cj Sez: At the bottom of this post are a few sites where you can find some general information on the different subgenres in fiction writing.
They are generalized definitions because genre definition is fluid…changing as stories overlap and become redefined by authors looking to create a hot-selling (read that “unique”) niche. Ergo, the specific requirements of a fiction genre are subject to further tweaks depending on the authors/editors/agents/publishers.

Mysteries usually start with a murder, but thrillers or suspense can also. It’s what happens next that helps define the book’s genre. The bottom line is that genre selection is all about marketing your wonderful words to the right audience, and you should take the time to identify your potential audience early on in the process.

You need to have at least an idea of what genre that you’re writing and/or about to publish because you have to tell Amazon what it is in order for your audience to find it. That means either you’re writing the genre you love to read and know it backwards and forwards, or you’re going to have to start reading in the genre you want to write so you can study and analyze the methodology.

Question: If your book were on a library shelf, what author/what book would it sit beside? Who do you think would buy your book: Someone who likes Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne series, or someone who likes Edith Maxwell’s historical cozy mysteries or someone who enjoyed “The Trouble with Poetry and Other Poems” by Billy Collins, or John Meacham’s “american lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House”?

Each of those books is catalogued in a different genre. If one of them is the one your novel would sit beside, then it is that reader you’d write for and that reader you’d focus your marketing on.

Resource sites:   (A PDF from

If you’re in the Mobile, Alabama, area, here’s a wonderful literary festival taking place October 15.  Thom Gossom, Jr., and Watt Key are slated to appear. I’ll be there, too, with a dish full of chocolate kisses. Yeah, I know, that's bribery, but stop by anyway and say hello. 

Okay, you-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

Choosing Carter  -- Kindle  /  Nook  /  Kobo   /  iTunes/iBook
Deadly Star --  Kindle  / Nook  / Kobo
Amazon Central Author Page:

PS:  Be sure to stop by Wednesday, Oct 5,  for a guest post by best-selling author Kathy Aarons.


  1. Love the comment from Vonnegut. Thanks for the references. Genres continue to get more and more confused as authors cross over the boundaries, so looking towards your target audience and marketing is a smart idea.

  2. I appreciate the comment...thanks for stopping by, Mahala. And Vonnegut is too funny and true.


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